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45.21 – Responsible Conduct of Research Education


  • Position: Office of Research Assurances Director
  • Name: Arch Harner
  • Email:

Last updated: April 20, 2018

A. Introduction. The University of Idaho recognizes that the responsible and ethical conduct of research is essential to furthering its research mission, maintaining research integrity, and ensuring public trust in research results. The University’s commitment is reflected in its required educational program for certain research participants and its on-going program oversight. [rev. 4-18]

B. Definitions.

B-1. Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is the practice of scientific investigation with integrity. It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research. (National Institutes of Health, Notice Number NOT-OD-10-019) [ed. 4-18]

C. Policy.

C-1. This policy sets forth the institutional framework for RCR education at the University and constitutes the institutional plan required by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and any such additional agencies who may make this a requirement for institutions receiving grant funding. Any individual who is required by the terms of an award to complete an educational program in RCR must complete the training course appropriate to the funding source. [rev. 4-18]

C-2. RCR training requirements for the following entities:

a. National Science Foundation (NSF): NSF requirements effective January 4, 2010 (The Office of Research Assurances (ORA) maintains links to pertinent government agencies):

  • The 2007 America COMPETES Act directs NSF to require all undergraduate, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars funded by an NSF grant submitted or due on or after January 4, 2010 to take RCR training.
  • Institutional certification that an RCR training plan is in place is submitted by the institution to NSF with each proposal. Training documentation and the RCR training plan must be maintained by the institution and be available for review upon request from NSF. [rev. 4-18]

b. National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH requirements effective January 25, 2010 (see ORA website):

  • NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant receive instruction in RCR. This requirement applies to all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and for all continuation (Type 5) applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011. This RCR instruction requirement applies to the following programs: D43, D71, F05, F30, F31, F32, F33, F34, F37, F38, K01, K02, K05, K07, K08, K12, K18, K22, K23, K24, K25, K26, K30, K99/R00, KL1, KL2, R25, R36, T15, T32, T34, T35, T36, T37, T90/R90, TL1, TU2, and U2R. It also applies to any other NIH-funded programs supporting research training, career development, or research education that require instruction in RCR as stated in the relevant funding opportunity announcements.
  • An RCR training plan must be submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) to NIH as part of the Grant Proposal for each award type and program indicated above. Submitted RCR training plans will be evaluated by NIH as part of the peer review process. The PI is responsible for the implementation of the training plan and maintenance of all documentation pertinent to the accepted plan.

c. U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA): NIFA Requirements Effective February 2013 (see ORA website):

  • By accepting a NIFA award the grantee assures that program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in the research project receive appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research and that documentation of such training will be maintained. Grantees are advised that the documentation of the training is subject to NIFA review upon request. Note that Formula Funded programs, the 1890 Facilities Program, and the Small Business Innovation Research Program are currently exempted from this requirement. [add. 4-18]

D. University of Idaho RCR Training Plan for NSF/NIFA/NIH-supported Activities.

D-1. UI Plan to Meet NSF and NIFA Requirements (RCR CITI Course): The University maintains membership to the online Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program ( to fulfill the NSF and NIFA training requirements. CITI training records are maintained by ORA.

The University requires any PI who receives an NSF award to identify all students and postdoctoral scholars receiving payments under the award and ensure that such individuals complete the RCR training. PIs are also responsible for determining the amount of additional RCR training appropriate for each individual. Records for additional training are to be kept by the PI. A discussion of how PIs provide RCR training to their students and postdoctoral scholars is required for the Public Outcomes Report required by the NSF. [rev. 4-18]

Undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers receive mentoring from faculty in the RCR; such mentoring is an obligation of every PI at the University. Elements of RCR training are also incorporated into required and elective courses at the University. Face-to-face classes are offered on campus that cover principles on the ethical conduct of research. For information on current courses offered, please contact the College of Graduate Studies or the Office of Research Assurances. [rev. 4-18]

Depending on the nature of the research, additional training in RCR topics is required; such required training may include animal care and use, general biosafety, biosafety cabinet, select agent, hazardous waste management, human participants in research, radiological safety, chemical hygiene plan, general lab safety, and so forth. [rev. 4-18]

D-2. UI Plan to Meet NIH Requirements (RCR Course): The University has a membership to the online CITI program ( to provide RCR training. Furthermore, seminars covering RCR topics are presented throughout the year to provide face-to-face training. Seminar and CITI training records are maintained by ORA. [rev. 4-18]

In addition to the seminars, an ethics class is offered on campus that covers ethical conduct of research principles which also fulfills NIH’s in person training requirements. For information on current courses offered, please contact the College of Graduate Studies or the Office of Research Assurances. [rev. 4-18]

E. Contact Information.

Office of Research Assurances (ORA)
Phone: (208) 885-6162

Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP)
Phone: (208) 885-6651

College of Graduate Studies (COGS)
Phone: (208) 885-6243

F. Related University Policies.

Faculty-Staff Handbook:

Administrative Procedures Manual:

Version History

Campus Locations

Physical Address:
Bruce M. Pitman Center
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264

Phone: 208-885-6111

Fax: 208-885-9119